San Angelo, Texas Ballot Measure Would Ban Abortions, Protect Unborn Children

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 3, 2022   |   12:11PM   |   San Angelo, Texas

San Angelo, Texas is moving forward with a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance that would ban abortions in the city, albeit slower than pro-life residents would like.

On Tuesday, the city council accepted a certified petition with enough signatures to prompt a city-wide vote on the pro-life ordinance, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times.

If the ordinance passes, San Angelo would join more than 40 other cities across the U.S. in protecting unborn babies by banning abortions within city limits. With a population of 99,893, it also would be one of the largest cities to do so.

At the meeting, pro-life residents urged the city council to move forward quickly with the proposed ordinance so that it can be included on the May ballot.

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Pastor Ryan Buck of Immanuel Baptist Church and others asked the council to schedule the required public hearing this month, instead of the March 1 date suggested by city clerk Julia Antilley, according to the report.

“Our hope is that we would not go forward with a March deadline for the public hearing and that we could move that up so we can make the May ballot,” Buck said.

However, the council voted 4-1 to hold the hearing on March 1, according to the report.

“At that public hearing, [the council] can decide to accept the ordinance as proposed, make changes to the ordinance, or reject the ordinance,” Antilley said.

If the council rejects the ordinance, pro-life residents can request that it be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

San Angelo does not have any abortion facilities, but the ordinance would be a preventative measure against one opening. Planned Parenthood closed its facility in the city in 2013.

Pro-life residents of Abilene, Texas also are working to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance by ballot measure this year.

To date, 43 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio have passed Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that outlaw abortions within city limits.

One in Lubbock, Texas passed by ballot initiative and led to Planned Parenthood stopping abortions there. The abortion chain challenged the ordinance, but a judge threw out its lawsuit over the summer. Then, in January, Planned Parenthood decided to drop its lawsuit completely in a major victory for life.

The Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance makes it “unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy” in the city. It also prohibits “any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion” and treats abortion-inducing drugs as contraband within the city limits.

The ordinance has both public and private enforcement mechanisms. The public enforcement mechanism establishes fines against the abortionist and anyone who helps with an abortion within city limits. However, it cannot be enforced until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

However, the private enforcement mechanism is immediate. It makes abortionists and those who help them “liable in tort to a surviving relative of the aborted unborn child, including the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings or half-siblings,” meaning the abortionist can be sued for aborting the unborn child in violation of the ordinance.

Though abortion activists have threatened legal action, the cities have been successful in court thus far. In 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union dropped its lawsuit challenging several Texas cities’ pro-life ordinances.